The Chicken Coop Moves One Step Closer to Completion

The weather turned warm and sunny, allowing us to continue to work on our bee projects and our chicken coop. We are now ready if the bees come early. The coop needs more work.

Over the past couple of days, I finished caulking the chicken coop, I painted the rafters and fascia that will be exposed, and I finally put on the roof. The corrugated metal roof was much easier than dealing with asphalt shingles, and we wrapped it up in just a few hours.

I was surprised at how much cooler the coop was once the roof was erected. Not only does the metal provide shade, it reflects much of the light and heat out of the building.

chicken coop with roof
After installing the corrugated metal roofing, we hung the T1-11 siding. The panels are just temporary and will be taken down to be primed and painted.

I also cut and fitted three of the eight exterior T1-11 wall panels that will make up the walls of the chicken coop. I still have to finish the other five. However, I paused that work because I need to buy or build the nesting boxes and door before I can complete the walls. I have to incorporate a hatch in the wall so we can get the eggs out or clean out the laying boxes without opening the coop.

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Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Ranked Hottest Emerging Housing Market

I’ve been to Coeur d’Alene and wasn’t impressed. But then, cities don’t impress me. My advice: Skip the intermediate steps and move rural.

This article in the Wall Street Journal that names Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as the hottest emerging housing market in the U.S., beating places like Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C. That amuses me.

Why? Because when we were looking for prepper property in Idaho and Montana a couple years ago, we visited Coeur d’Alene. From our perspective, it had several negatives, including its size. When we drove to the airport in Spokane, it was clear that Coeur d’Alene and Spokane are merging into one giant super city. It was a big solid block of surburnaism, and I expect it has gotten worse since then.

The city also had the cookie-cutter sameness that many large cities exhibit: The same chain stores. All the familiar chain restaurants. The shopping centers along the highway all look the same as every other shopping center in every other city. When we drove south on 95 and into Coeur d’Alene, we might as well have been driving into a city on Long Island or New Jersey. OK, so the downtown is nicer and the people are friendlier, but the area is now being flooded with Californians, so how long can that last?

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Building and Tracking Bee Equipment

With cold weather bringing a halt to work on the chicken coop, I worked in the shop assembling bee hives until it was finally warm enough to paint them.

Over the weekend, I assembled four deep hive boxes and 30 frames. I also built a spacer with a hive entrance, a bottom board, and a custom lid for a swarm trap. I worked inside as the cold weather dominated our area. Things are warming up and I will revert to working on the chicken coop again. My goal is to have the roof on by the end of the week.

I am having fun building the bee equipment, which surprised me. Of course, when I’m on my one thousandth frame some years from now, I might not feel that way, but I am enjoying it now. There’s something satisfying about working in the shop building something with power tools. I can see why so many retired men become woodworkers, and I think it is at least in part because they finally have time to do the job right.

Can you believe each frame required eight staples and two tiny nails? I was happy to have my pneumatic brad nailer and stapler, which I reviewed just a couple days ago. I even bought a second air hose so I could run both at the same time.

Assembling frames for beehives.
without a jig for use when assembling beehive frames, I use a hive body and a couple of 2x4s for spacers. It works well enough when you are just making a few dozen

To paint the components, I strung a rope between two fence posts and suspended the hive bodies over the rope. (See main photo.) I primed these yesterday and they are ready for their final coat. Once I paint two sides, I rotate them on the rope and paint the other side. I set the bottom boards and other items on the grass to paint them. My bee yard now has white rectangular outlines on it.

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India Sets COVID-19 Record, U.S. Cases Drop for Second Straight Week

While COVID-19 cases drop in the U.S., scientists worry that many of the unvaccinated Americans don’t want to be vaccinated.

In the past week, India broke the record for most cases of COVID-19 in a single day, surpassing the previous record long held by the U.S. This helped drive the world to set a record for the highest number of new cases ever, with 5.6 million cases reported per week.

Meanwhile, cases continued to slow in the U.S. Number is California, once the epicenter of the outbreak, have dropped to new lows, even as its neighbor Oregon is seeing the highest rate of case growth in the U.S. Michigan, the worst-hit part of the U.S., is seeing slight improvements.

The U.S. has reported 32.1 million cases, of which 58,353 occurred on Sunday. Deaths have also declined with 707 reported in the past 24 hours, for a total of 571,753. Globally, there 146.8 million cases and 3.1 million deaths. 

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Product Review: The Central Pneumatic 2-in-1 Air Nailer/Stapler

I could have bought a $120 Makita but I picked up this $30 pneumatic bar nailer/stapler at Harbor Freight Instead. Here’s how it performed.

When I was looking for a pneumatic staple gun to shoot 18-gauge narrow-crown staples into my beehive frames and other hive components, I tracked down the least expensive one I could find: The Central Pneumatic 2-in-1 Air Nailer/Stapler from Harbor Freight. It cost only $29.99. The comparable product from Porter-Cable is $99, or more than three times as much. The Makita version is $120—four times as much.

I would not describe myself as cheap, necessarily, but I do like to save money when my life or livelihood are not at stake. I don’t need to show off by buying expensive tools because very few people are ever going to see them. Keep in mind, I’m not going to the job site; I’m hanging out in my garage or backyard. Plus, I bought a box of 2,500 staples, I’ll be surprised if I use them all and need a fresh box. Perhaps a Mikita or another high-end brand tool would outlast this one, but after spending $30, I am satisfied that I got my money’s worth.

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Time to Double Down on Prepping

Look around. When things take a turn for the worse, it’s time to double down on prepping and planning for the worst case scenario.

I can’t help but think that the Biden Administration is pushing us closer and closer to the edge of ruin.  His latest idea of double capital gains taxes on the rich (who do most of the investing) will likely cause a significant drop in the stock market as people liquidate positions this year to avoid paying double taxes next year.  On top of that, he’s weak on the international stages and his foreign policy will potentially embroil us in another war before his term in office is over.  Then there’s the mess he’s making of our society by embracing socialism, and going where no president since FDR has gone to force his policies upon the American People against their will.

I had hoped Joe Biden would be “more of the same,” meaning just like every other mealy-mouthed Democrat and a good many of the Republicans who over promise and under deliver. Instead of being a president who accomplishes little or nothing, he’s caving into the far left and pandering to the Socialists.  He seems to fully support demonetizing the police, punishing people who create jobs, and turning what’s left of our free market into a highly-regulated, government-controlled market doomed to failure.

I’m starting to worry about our future.  Over-taxation is one of the top precursors to revolution, and aggressive socialism usually leads to economic collapse, eventually.  Both of these outcomes lead to a collapse of the government and our complex system.  That spells trouble for the country and its population.  You think we have social unrest now?  Wait until things fall apart and there is no veneer of civilization holding people back.  Blood will flow in the streets.

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Over Hill and Dale: The Quest for Beekeeping Equipment

We put some miles on the truck and some wind in our hair as we cruised the back roads in search of beekeeping equipment.

Since it was too cold to work outside, my wife and I made the long trip to the bee supply store yesterday. There are only a few in the state, so we had to drive two hours.  On the way home, we picked up supplies for our chick brooder and more bags of soil at Tractor Supply. We made it all the way there without using a single mile of Interstate highway.

The drive took us up and over mountains, all around twisty-turny backcountry roads, and through some pretty valleys where colorful wildflowers and trees were in bloom. We passed cows and horses, goats and sheep, and fields that looked like they were recently plowed. Our ears popped multiple times. It was a pleasant drive.

We even stopped for lunch at an old-fashioned diner. Unfortunately, the food was not as good as I would have hoped. They had “help wanted” signs up, and I’m guessing their best cook is still home collecting unemployment checks.

When we got home, we loaded up the stove and started the fire. The house had dropped to 63 degrees after we didn’t stoke the fire this morning because of our expected absence.

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I’m Building Infrastructure to Support My Future Food Supply

If our society collapses in a TEOTWAWKI event, we’ll struggle to hang on to our remnants of modern society. Building it to last and building it now will be keys to success.

There is a three-piece article on building prepper infrastructure by 3AD Scout that is appearing this week on SurvivalBlog.com. It struck a cord with me and is well worth reading.

3AD Scout makes many good points, some of which should be familiar to our readers, including:

  • The complexity of our modern society and how one interruption can cause a domino effect;
  • The need to be a generalist after a TEOWAWKI event, competent in many areas, rather than a specialist who can do only one thing; and
  • That our stockpiles will run out and we will need to supply water, food and medical care for ourselves, even after we have eaten the last can of food or used the last antibiotic.
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Prepper Diary April 21: Cold Weather Slows our Outdoor Work

As a blast of cold weather rolls Eastward, we fall back onto old winter habits and prep for possible snow fall.

We’re heading back into winter for a few days as a system packing cold air punches its way through the region. Forecasts predict overnight temps in the low 20s.

To prepare for cold weather and the possibility of snow or ice trapping us on our mountain again, we went grocery shopping and stocked up on eggs and other essentials. We picked up the mail and ran some other errands. Then I loaded up the largest indoor stack of firewood I’ve had in a month or six weeks and split some kindling. We haven’t burned a fire in the upstairs fireplace for weeks, but we put enough wood up there to cover at least two days.

Unlike deep winter when cold weather could last for days or weeks, this system should clear out quickly and we hope to see warm weather return in just a few days.

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Prepare for More Riots in Minneapolis and Elsewhere

Tensions are high in Minneapolis and other cities as the prosecution of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd goes to the jury.

Closing statements at the Derek Chauvin trial concluded Monday, and the outcome is in the hands of the jury. No one knows whether they will reach a verdict in hours or days, but take the possibility of civil unrest into account when planning your week.

Some predict that Chauvin will be found not guilty of second or third degree murder in the death of George Floyd because Floyd’s heart disease and use of Fentanyl contributed to the death. While a manslaughter conviction is possible, it or a “not guilty” verdict might cause anger and civil unrest, culminating in destructive riots and looting.

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